October 15, 2021
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In September the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency announced the introduction of a number of changes to the Highway Code. There are 33 changes and amendments to existing rules, most of which are intended to give clearer advice for example making sure that road users understand that:

  • reduced speed limits may apply when towing
  • emergency areas on motorways are not to be used for stopping or parking, except in an emergency
  • the display of red flashing light signals and a red ‘X’ on a sign identify a closed lane in which people, stopped vehicles and other hazards may be present
  • drivers should follow the instructions on signs in advance of a closed lane to move safely to an open lane there can be several hazards in a closed lane blocking closed lanes may prevent people from getting the help they need and delay reopening of the lanes where a closed left lane crosses an exit slip road, the exit cannot be used on motorways where the hard shoulder becomes an extra lane during periods of congestion, emergency areas exist for use in the event of an emergency or breakdown the hard shoulder can only be used as an extra lane when a speed limit is shown
  • on motorways, drivers and passengers must not retrieve items that fall from a vehicle or attempt to move an obstruction in the event of a fallen item or other obstruction on a motorway, drivers should stop in a place of relative safety and contact the emergency services to report the incident and request help
  • what tailgating is, how it occurs, why it is dangerous and how to avoid it

There are also two new rules:

Rule 270 covers emergency areas located along motorways without hard shoulders or where the hard shoulder is used some of the time as an extra lane.

Rule 275 covers places of relative safety, i.e. where you, your passengers and your vehicle are less likely to be at risk from moving traffic if you need to stop your vehicle in the event of a breakdown or incident.

If your employees drive as part of their work, it is important that you have robust policies and procedures in place to manage the risk and keep up to date with changing rules and requirements. You will need to take into account the drivers themselves e.g. are they suitably trained and competent, the vehicles they drive e.g. are they correctly maintained and suitable for the task and the journeys that drivers make e.g. do you allow sufficient time, planning for breaks etc.


Please speak to your normal PIB Risk Management contact or get in touch using [email protected] if you have any questions or would like assistance with developing policies and procedures for managing occupational road risks.